What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a broad term for various drugs that are used to kill cancer cells wherever they are in the body.
All cells divide and grow in a specific order. Chemotherapy drugs are designed to break that process at a variety of points in that order. This then stops the cancer cell from making new cells and kills it.
What drugs will I have?
Research has told us that for some types of cancer it is best to only give one type of chemotherapy drug, for others a combination of drugs works best. We call this drug treatment plan "a regime". The Consultant in charge of prescribing the Chemotherapy is the Oncologist. They will decide which regime to give based on the type of cancer a person has.
How often will I have treatment?
How often chemotherapy drugs are given depends on the regime. The frequency of receiving treatment is called a cycle. Each regime has its own cycle length. This can vary from just a single cycle to repeated cycles every six weeks, and all stages in between.
How will I have treatment?
Chemotherapy drugs can be given in a great variety of ways depending on the regime. Most commonly it is given either as a tablet or administered into your vein.
Most chemotherapy regimes can be administered as an outpatient, only coming into hospital for a few hours. Some regimes are longer and require a short stay in hospital.
Who will give me the Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy drugs are administered by a specialist chemotherapy trained nurse.
When will I see the Oncologist?
You will be given an appointment to see your Oncologist before the start of every cycle. This allows for them to check how you are and to give you an opportunity to discuss anything that is concerning you. A blood test will also be taken to check that blood levels are safe for more chemotherapy. At the end of this meeting they will prescribe the next cycle of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is available at CircleBath, and is carried out by our Cancer Treatment Team.
What side-effects might I expect?
The side-effects of chemotherapy can vary depending on the regime. For example not all chemotherapy drugs will make your hair fall out. You will be provided with a specific list of side-effects for your regime prior to starting treatment. These will be explained by your Oncologist and discussed at a pre-assessment appointment with your chemotherapy nurse.